The world record tarpon is 286 pounds, 9 ounces.
The world record goldfish is still to be determined, but estimates say they grow to 30 pounds.
The world’s largest golden tarpon?
That may have just been caught by 16-year old angler Will Chapman while fishing with Capt. Patrick Dineen of Flyliner Charters.
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“We were just blind melon fishing,” Dineen said. “The fish were down on the bottom so we were fishing deep. When we hooked it I didn’t think much of it and it didn’t jump right away. The bite was on my rod, so I handed it to Will. We tried for a minute to hook another while the fish ran.”
Without seeing the fish, the anglers and Dineen didn’t know the hooked tarpon was one of a kind.
It wasn’t until the fish jumped and Dineen saw it that he realized it might be something special.
“It ran way off and finally jumped. When I saw it I said, ‘Man that fish is different. We have to catch this one,’ and started to chase it.”
As Chapman worked the fish on a Van Stall reel and G. Loomis rod, his father, Mark, didn’t see the fish until it was closer to Dineen’s 24-foot Skeeter.
“We did not realize the fish was different until halfway through the 20-minute fight,” Mark Chapman said. “Will said the fish looked like a giant koi. It was absolutely beautiful once he got him near the boat, the tips of his pectoral fins were lit up bright blue similar to a pelagic.”
The closer it got, the more Dineen wanted to catch it.
Will worked the fish to the boat like a pro despite it being his first encounter with a tarpon.
It was landed and estimated to be around 100 pounds, kept in the water for a few once-in-a-lifetime photos, then released to fight another day.
While most tarpon have a dark-colored back, Will’s was somewhere between peach and gold. It was a solid, unique color, with no spots or color changes.
Some called it piebald like the spotted tarpon landed two years ago with Capt. Clark Wright. Others described it as xanthic, maybe even albino.
Either way it’s a fish that will live in the history of rare angler catches.
Dineen has landed countless tarpon over the years, but this is one he will never forget.
“Wherever the pigmentation was, it was golden," he said. "All the silver parts were almost white. It was a captivating type of fish. My God, was it beautiful.”
Source: U.S. Naval Observatory data